Grateful Dead Live at Nassau Coliseum on 1981-05-06
NAK-700's > SONY TC-D5M Dolby On taped by Barry Glassberg FOB via Mark Cohen, John Steinthal encoded by Matt Vernon; Note- - this version supercedes a previous shn set from this same source
Subject: Great Aud
This AUD sounds better than much of the official release (Dick's 13). Having been moved up one day, this was the first of a 3-day run - but not the best of the run. There was no SBD in circ (which appears to be one of the main reasons for the official release). The first three songs are lost to mix errors on the official, sounding much better on the AUD - though the band was a mess at first anyway. Why did Alabama seem to haunt the equipment? Jer is bright in spots but the show just doesn't get to the point where things gel and there are better go-to Spring '81 shows. Ironically, Dick's 13 has only the Scarlet>Fire of the better 11-1-79 Nassau show, as a hidden track. Because of the date change, 5/7/81 was free so they played live the next night on the Tomorrow Show w/Tom Snyder - and it's a must-hear (or watch, as it has been released as part of a DVD). In a Fall '80 flashback they played acoustic versions of On the Road Again, Dire Wolf>Deep Elem Blues, & Cassidy. The first three are aces and the last is good. One of their best television appearances.
First Set. The whole first set is floundering, searching for a point where it can come together, except for one sudden perfect Jack-a-Roe that's just stellar. Alabama is just a trainwreck mess and Greatest Story flops as well. The sound improves for They Love Each Other, but not the band. After the incongruous Jacka, the rest is average-to-below-average '81.
Second Set. Somehow the levels are messed again, so the AUD is better for Minglewood (surprise - in the 2nd set). The official only has Bobby vox, one drummer, Jer guitar and Brent in the mix. High Time has a string of missed cues and sloppiness - sometimes they went off; sometimes they WERE off. I like the Sailor>Saint period, though objectively this isn't one of the top 30 (the AUD is still better here). Most of the show is uptempo (even at the correct pitch), except for a sludge of a He's Gone. The 27min jam that follows is better and includes a Spanish, which is why this show tends to get noted. Not the best Spanish, and doesn't make up for the first set, but nice. And welcome, as it's the start of the best part of the show. And wow, for the first time the sound is finally right on the SBD and, to a lesser extent, the AUD (which had been better but also improves here). Drums are really good and The Other One into GDtRFB is the brightest spot of the set. Wharf is almost as solid, though the encore is rote.
1st Set: D
2nd Set: C
Overall: AUD = 2¼ Stars ; Dick's 13 = 1 Star (easily the strangest of Dick's picks)
Jack-a-Roe - sudden tighten-up for a great version
Goin' Down the Road - 2nd sudden tighten-up (though from He's Gone>Wharf is GOGD)
SOURCES: AUD-only in circ (the SBD is not a comfortable mix to hear, though it was released on Dick's 13). The best are the glassberg_vernon_17697 and the wise_andrewf_82368, which gains some image for the sake of presence. The glassberg_vernon_10379 is a new transfer of the former and sounds like the upper mids have been boosted. The glassbergs run fast and need -2% pitch - seems all the AUDs are too fast. The next night is part of a DVD called Tom Snyder's Electric Kool-Aid. There is an interview with Jer and Kesey, another with the band, and interviews from a separate show with Tom Wolfe and Timmy Leary.
Bucky - sorry about forcing you to read. I'll leave it to you to explain why these are the best-ever versions of Alabama, GSET, TLEO, & Minglewood .
Subject: Raw Dead
My Lord... I am getting tired of reading this Mind Wondin guy above me here. trashing every show the consensus says is great and saying every show the consensus says sucks is awesome.
oh well, takes all kinds.
On with the review:
I loved when the Dead cut loose and just jammed. Alas, I was born ten years too late and started going to shows in late '79. I did catch a few wild improvisational things and this 'piece' ranks near the top of the list along with the 20 minute TOO from 4/23/83 and the Dark Star (both halves) with Branford on 9/10/91.
As Ice9 and others do such a great job in reviewing song for song, I think I'll try to add a few tidbits that haven't been mentioned yet.
I did every show that May and was pretty well in touch with what the band was doing in '81.
The first thing is the High Time. Yes, it's a tremendous version. I was seeing a number of versions in 80-81, but this one truly stands out. Garcia gets caught up in the moment and throws in an instrumental break in the middle of the song for the first time ever (to my knowledge). The instrumental break remained in the song for the a number of years.
And the famous jam.
Are you aware that the Spanish Jam did not just 'pop out' that night after 5 years? It actually 'popped up' the previous night in Glens Falls after Truckin.... You can hear Bob start a few bars of it near the end of the jam before Jerry goes into Alabama Getaway of all things.
And the jam itself, I never understood why it's divided into two parts, 'Caution' & 'Spanish' when it's three distinct jams: Caution; Other One & then Spanish.
Dick Latvala says in his 'Daedbase' review that 'things relax' after the Caution Jam before entering the Spanish Jam, but I'd hardly call the Other One Jam 'relaxing'. It's got a Spanishy tone to it (something Garcia would commonly blend in '82-'83 out of space, but unique here in '81). At one point, the guitarists are going so wild, Bob starts playing some notes that sound like the beginning of Sugar Mag. That would've been something. Right after that, Jerry and Bob do a serious meltdown that reaches Tiger-like heights. All in all, it's 5 of he best minutes of wild Other One improve I've ever heard.
Then, it stops and the drums start. For a second or two.
At this point, I do believe this jam would still be considered one of the greatest He's Gone jams ever played.
But, instead of the drums, Jerry starts The Spanish Jam and elevates this jam to legendary status.
After the drums, note there's no 'space'. It's a Drums from the rack-driven jam. My God, was this great live! I thought they were going to do Aiko but veer off into a raging TOO. To follow this up with GDTRFB instead of a slow Jerry tune for the first time in years was so GREAT as a dancer back then. :^)
(btw: the next night's drums/space sounds like Aiko too, but they waited 4 more shows to play it).
This is a 5 star show in ANY era.
Subject: Great Show, but Sound Quality......
Subject: Call this an historical footnote
Sands had died the day before in an English prison.
Sands was a member of Parliment and a soldier in the IRA. He starved himself to death for reasons I will not share with you here. His death affected the boys and they played He's Gone as if it was to be the last song they ever played. RIP Bobby Sands.
Subject: Let It Grow sounds kinda like Roundabout...
Subject: bread crumb
New,New Minglewood Blues ('66-'74) 3 times
All New Minglewood Blues ('76-'79) 2 times
New Minglewood Blues ('80-'95) 2 times
Even if you don't want to split hairs it's a pretty rare occurance for a song that was played 434 times.
Subject: Coming up Roses..........
Second set takes flight at He's Gone>Caution>Spanish Jam>Drums/Space>Other One..... and this is a show I'll be coming back to again for a closer listen.
And a fine audience recording.
Subject: Classic 80s Dick's Pick
Subject: Finally, A Grrreat F.O.B. ... Thank Goodness !!!
Subject: He's Gone > Caution > Spanish
Sweet recording by Barry Glassberg. Almost everything he taped in the early 80's is worth a listen. He also taped a wonderful Palladium show May 3, 1977. Check it out.
Subject: This show certainly changes...
But right up around the charge-up in Saint of Circumstance, something clicks. The whole band just wails! Flails! They lock in.
Bobby makes a dedication, and the music suddenly finds a reason and a purpose, and Jerry shows up 110%! He's Gone> to the end of the night is the Grateful Dead at the height of their powers. Every note treated with intention. It's amazing how they can show up as a second-rate band, and by the end of the night, there's none better. How's that?
It's quite amazing what happens when you shut off the car radio and throw headphones on! LOL!
Subject: 30 years later...
Subject: Simply killer
After the boys take a breather, Minglewood opens the second set. I know what you’re thinking: not the most exciting choice. Don’t be fooled—the band is taking its time. High Time follows, and it’s a very strong version, perhaps the best since the fertile ’69-’70 period of this tune’s history. Garcia’s vocals find that plaintive, soulful zone that delivers chills. Sailor>Saint follows and I dare anyone to point me toward a hotter version. Bobby flat out kills the vocals and the build-up in Saint is pure joy. If this version doesn’t get your euphoria flowing, consult your local witchdoctor or gypsy woman immediately. Before He’s Gone, Weir dedicates the performance to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands who died on May 5. This He’s Gone is superbly played, but the jamming that follows is what sets this show apart. A freewheeling Caution Jam bleeds into Spanish Jam. Jerry is in incredible form, and at points you can hear the band straining to keep up with him. Anything else I might say about these two jams would do them a disservice. I’ll just say that if you haven’t heard them yet, you need to. Right now.
A raging Other One emerges from Space and it’s clear that the boys are still in it to win. The rest of this show is very strong. Listening to the Dead for extended periods of time can leave me semi-immune to songs like GDTRFB and Good Lovin’, but the versions here are excellent. Wharf Rat is also a notch better than other versions from this era and even the much-maligned Don’t Ease Me In gets the royal treatment.
Overall, this is a show that every serious listener needs to hear more than once. In my mind it sets the bar for creativity and improvisation quite high, and the Grateful Dead only approach such levels again when MIDI enters the picture in the late 80’s. I haven’t heard the board of this show that constitutes Dick’s Picks Volume 13, but I’ll be tracking it down. I’ll give this a five star rating, but if the option were there, I’d take half a star away for my minor reservation about the sound. God bless you, Mr. Glassberg!
Subject: Get DP13
Subject: dicks picks
Subject: A very strong show
Subject: GREAT TO BE AT, JACKAROO, ROOSTER SMOKE, JERRY!!!
Subject: good taping
Subject: Forget Dick's Picks
Subject: Damn fine stuff
I try to use the 5 star ratings sparingly, but this comes close.
Subject: good aud?
Subject: Good AUD?
Subject: fantastic AUD
I like the sound on this one better than the dry sbd that has been released as Dicks Picks...
Subject: Fun Show
Subject: Great FOB
Subject: Great Show
Its one of the Dick's Picks - go buy it.
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